June 2014

FEATURE

Photonic sensor to combat TB

A three-year project that aims to design a medical tool that will dramatically lower the cost of diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) is underway. The Pocket project, which will run until October 2016, is the collaborative effort between six European partners and aims to use photonic lab-on-chip technology to build a TB test kit that costs less than €1,000.

FEATURE

Master of metal

At a press conference that took place in April in preparation for the laser material processing trade fair, Lasys, the German Engineering Association (VDMA) presented its figures for the business year 2013, showing that the worldwide production volume of laser systems used for material processing achieved by the member companies of VDMA and including such value added contributed by internationally operating companies amounted to €913 million – the highest value since the pre-economic crisis in 2007.

FEATURE

Keeping count of light

On 24 April, a team of researchers from Toshiba Research Europe, British Telecom, ADVA Optical Networking and the UK National Physical Laboratory announced it had transmitted both a quantum encryption key and useable data down the same fibre cable. The trial is one of the latest advances in Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a form of data encryption based on quantum mechanics that is much more secure than existing encryption methods.

FEATURE

Enlightened electronics

Silicon photonic products are now on the market and the technology has reached a reasonably high level of maturity, but is still ‘several years out for wide-spread applications’, according to Dr Bert Offrein, manager photonics at IBM Research, Zurich.